When Nina Paley's Sita Sings the Blues screened last fall at the Museum of Modern Art, its appearance was due to a Gotham Awards nomination in the category "Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You." The cartoonist-turned-animator's feature eventually won that category, and due to copyright issues her movie remains undistributed. But Columbus audiences can get a look this weekend at the Wex (Paley will introduce Friday's screening).

When Nina Paley's Sita Sings the Blues screened last fall at the Museum of Modern Art, its appearance was due to a Gotham Awards nomination in the category "Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You." The cartoonist-turned-animator's feature eventually won that category, and due to copyright issues her movie remains undistributed. But Columbus audiences can get a look this weekend at the Wex (Paley will introduce Friday's screening).

What an extraordinary treat that is. Using a variety of styles of hand-drawn animation, along with collage and 1920s jazz recordings by vocalist Annette Hanshaw, Paley marries the color and energy of Bollywood musicals to the irreverent humor of popular cartoons.

The film parallels the ancient Indian epic Ramayana with the story of Paley's own marriage breaking up after her husband took a job in India. Rough lines and color fills depict her story, while the tale of Rama's bride Sita and his lack of faith in her fidelity is portrayed in strikingly gorgeous religious iconography and hilariously idealized bodies.

Occasionally, a trio of shadow puppets appears to fill in the details as best they can, which isn't perfect. Hanshaw's vocals speak to how both leading ladies grasp onto hope in the face of sorrow.

It's a brave personal statement and an incredibly successful creative mash-up, made even better by a sense of spontaneity that's almost impossible to find in animated features. Don't miss it.